08th Oct2021

‘V/H/S/94’ Review (Shudder)

by Alain Elliott

Directed by Chloe Okuno, Jennifer Reeder, Ryan Prows, Shudder, Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto

I don’t think there’s too many bigger fans of the V/H/S horror anthology franchise than myself. I’ve loved all three that have come before V/H/S/94 (yes even V/H/S Viral, it’s 100x better than most people suggest) – they feature a range of brilliant directors and actors in original and gory short films. I loved that this newest movie would be hitting Shudder in time for Halloween.

We start with what is the wraparound segment ‘Holy Hell’ directed by Knives and Skin director Jennifer Reed. It shows a S.W.A.T. team slowly working there way through a building which is showing on various monitors or TV’s, the video tapes that lead to each other segment.

And the first segment is ‘Storm Drain’ directed by newcomer Chloe Okuno. Shown as a TV news reporter and her single camera guy following up on a local mythical creature. There’s a fairly slow build of the tension that works really well but the reveal comes in two parts. Seeing the actual creature itself was really cool. Like pretty much all good found footage films, having the extraordinary shot in this handheld camera only adds the realistic nature of it. In a big budget movie, this creature would be a lot less effective, it’s perfect here. It’s a shame the story surrounding it isn’t quite as good. We see some extra (very non-1994 HD) footage from the TV studio after that ramps up the gore in a glorious way.

The second short from Simon Barrett (director of the recent Shudder movie Seance and writer of many a great genre movie) is title ‘The Empty Wake’. A single character features throughout almost the whole short as she hosts a wake in the middle of a very stormy night. You think this might be going down the creepy ghost story route but it goes a completely different way and like Storm Drain there’s a really good build-up to the reveal (in fact probably an even better one here) and the reveal is brilliantly horrific, with some great special effects and a very cool final moment. The handheld camera style again just adds to the realistic creepiness of it all.

‘The Subject’ from director Timo Tjahjanto (The Night Comes For Us) is the third and longest segment. Definitely my favourite segment as we see the work of a mad scientist that tries to mix man and machine with terrifying and brutal consequences. Although a lot of this doesn’t quite fit the V/H/S-style it’s unsurprisingly the most brilliantly gory of possibly any V/H/S segment ever. There’s some breath-taking design of the ‘machines’ and horror fans will have big smiles on their faces as the action gets fast and blood and guts spill all over the screen. It’s brilliantly crazy.

The last segment ‘Terror’ from Lowlife director Ryan Prows shows a white supremacist group bizarrely capturing something supernatural in an attempt to take down the American government. It’s the short that feels most like it is shot by amateurs as some sort of snuff movie (it opens with a man being shot in the head from close range). Nothing looks professional and it’s all the better for it with the story going a direction I wasn’t expecting.

As with all the V/H/S movies, there’s plenty to enjoy here and I wouldn’t say there’s any weak segments, just the one stand out from Timo Tjahjanto. The best V/H/S movie? Probably not but it’s a brilliant addition to the franchise that I hope continues to be made because the quality, originality and craziness is rarely matched.

**** 4/5

V/H/S/94 is available to watch on Shudder now.


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